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Why Matt’s Jucy Lucy Burgers Are So Special?

At first sight, you might have thought there is a typo, but no, it is actually the real name of one of the (rightly) most beloved burgers in the States. Hailing from Minneapolis, Jucy Lucy (or Juicy Lucy if you really want to be grammatically correct) is the meaty perfection that has found its way to the stomachs of all meat lovers.

If you’re on a gastronomic tour in the Twin Cities (metropolitan area made up of St. Paul and Minneapolis) or simply want a proven good place where you can try authentic food, Matt’s Bar in Minneapolis is a place you shouldn’t miss. It is (most likely) where the Jucy Lucy burger was created more than half a century ago, as a result of a culinary experiment. But, like many things that result from the unexpected, it happened to be a complete hit.

What’s Matt’s Juicy Lucy Burger?

If you were to look at the combination of ingredients, you can conclude that Jucy Lucy is nothing but a cheeseburger. But still, every burger is nothing more than a patty between buns until it gets some authenticity. In the case of this Minneapolis specialty, the “secret” is in the cheese placement.

Jucy Lucy is an interesting twist on a plain cheeseburger, as cheese comes between two meat patties, not on top of them. The warmth of the heated meat melts the cheese and creates a creamy, oozy, cheesy center. The cheese almost disintegrates, so you might not see it, but you can feel its hint. It gets into the meat, making it even juicier and tastier.

Cheese sandwiched between meat was a whole new concept that soon became a big hit. Many have tried to copy this recipe, successfully, since it does not appear too complicated. However, no one seems to have been able to top Matt’s Jucy Lucy so far.

If interested in making Jucy Lucy at home, here is a version you can try.

Brief History of Jucy Lucy

In 1954, Cedar Ave got its first burger eatery – Matt’s Bar. It became a competitor to the nearby 5-8 club, which already had a tradition spanning several decades, first as a speakeasy and then as a legit bar. The new place on the gastronomic scene of Minneapolis quickly found its fanbase, even among fussy customers.

Shortly after opening, a “miracle” that changed Matt’s bar forever happened. This story is an urban legend and witnesses how the authentic Jucy Lucy came to be. Namely, a regular guest had come to the bar and demanded something unusual from the bar owner – to put the cheese between two patties, and all that between two buns and with extra pickles. He had no clue that he gave an excellent idea for a classic Midwest burger loved all over the States.

Although surprised, the owner granted the request because the customer was always right. When a guest tried this unusual burger, he allegedly exclaimed, “Now, that’s one Juicy Lucy!” And that is how this burger dish has actually gotten its name. 

This unusual burger soon became extremely popular, so the owner included it in the regular menu. But, during printing, a typo slipped through where the letter “I” was omitted from the word “juicy.” But it was meant to be, and Matt’s bar owner decided to do nothing about it. That is how this name has risen to prominence and remained to this day.

How This Dish Triggered a Rivalry

Soon after the it became a gastronomic attraction in Minneapolis, speculation started about its origins. Although Matt’s version of the story is most often taken as the original, various sources mention several other bars as the inventors of the all-American’s favorite burger, including even the 5-8 club.

These two bars are located on the same street. They have a latent, decades-long rivalry regarding Jucy Lucy. They also claim to be the inventors of this popular dish, but they do not prioritize it in their menus. On the other hand, Matt’s bar created the whole concept around this burger. And if you want to try similar dishes, here’s the list of burgers from every state you should try.

It is a matter of personal taste which Jucy Lucy you prefer, as different bars have different recipes and “chef’s secrets” about making this juicy meat goodness. Still, Matt’s bar was the first one to bring this dish to the gastronomic scene.

Jitaditya Narzary

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